Each year, the McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) honor four Minnesotans who have demonstrated the ability to extend themselves in service of others. 2020 has proved itself to be a year of substance and consequence — a global pandemic, a national election, an uprising that ignited a flame in the ongoing fight for justice and equity. That is why it feels particularly important to thank and celebrate people who illustrate the endless capacity to give. 

Meet the Heroes
The work and lives of the honorees differ immensely, but all four women share a common trait: an extraordinary willingness to adapt to the needs of this moment.

The perils of a pandemic have highlighted where our larger systems have failed us, but it is in those gaps where these four nominees have shown up so vigilantly. In a time that presents us with more questions than answers, there is a comfort in knowing that these honorees are laying a roadmap for optimism.


They remind us to engage with the world intentionality, to not fall into dissolution but instead imagine what a collaborative path forward might look like, with all the hope and compassion that entails.

About the Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is pleased to announce the annual Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Awards. In partnership with the McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation that advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive, four Minnesotans, two from the Twin Cities metro and two from Greater Minnesota, will each receive $10,000 in recognition of the significant impact they have had on the state of Minnesota and its communities. Learn more about these awards


Angela Vang: Writer
Angela Vang believes in ghosts, love, and stories that challenge our understanding of the world. She is drawn to narratives of difference, power, and healing because they complicate the human experience. She is a freelance audio producer currently based in the twin cities. She spent the previous year in Washington D.C. interning for NPR’s Code Switch and producing for All Things Considered. In her spare time, she is eating persimmons and going on long walks
Kprecia Ambers: Hero Illustrator
Kprecia is the founder of Kp Inspires, a company created to push good energy into the world through the power of illustration. Using digital art as a tool to inspire others she finds joy in celebrating her culture, creating product designs, and supporting a diverse range of businesses. Her excitement is sparked by the desire to spread positive energy and the limitless possibilities in which illustration can be used.
Genessis Lopez: Flower Illustrator
Genessis Lopez is a Mexican artist living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has worked in Development and Fundraising at various nonprofits and incorporates art and creativity in everything she does. Her floral illustration series called "Color Therapy" was created during a time when she was struggling to find joy in life. The illustrations provided a form of visual therapy and healing during a period of change and discomfort. She hopes that you too can feel a sense of healing and hope from the colorful floral clusters.
Mónica Nadal: Art Director + Designer
Mónica Nadal is an innovative Puerto Rican designer and art director who centers authentic connection and communication into her design practice on a daily basis. Pollen partners extensively with local creatives and as Art + Talent Director, Mónica is at the core of building relationships in the MSP freelance community.
Ruby Oluoch: Studio Manager
As Pollen Studio Manager, Ruby manages the relationships and collaborative processes that connect Pollen Studio's design and storytelling expertise to our mission-driven client projects. Her previous experience includes managing communications projects to advance gender and racial equity statewide. Ruby believes telling stories is an act of love and resistance, and she is the proud organizer of several literary circles in the Twin Cities. Her favorite place to read is on the plane ride to her next travel adventure.
Jerome Rankine: Editorial Director
As Editorial Director, Jerome is the keeper of Pollen’s editorial voice and vision. He works with Pollen’s talented stable of writers to produce stories that entertain, enlighten, and invite readers to take action. Jerome spends a lot of time hunched over keyboards--either editing the latest Pollen feature, or composing music in his home studio. He’s active in local politics, less active on social media, and more active in his kitchen.